The Wendigo is a mythological entity from Algonquian Indian culture. It is a creature that's part human that cannibalizes people lost in the woods. Typically during winter and always in the night. The nifty part is its Minnesotan heritage. Wendigo legend has its roots in the Great Lakes region being a story told to frighten youngsters in Algonquian and Ojibwa tribes.
More specifically, though, the Wendigo is the spirit of the forest that overtakes a person and forces them towards horrific actions. Stories indicate how a person overcome by the elements, starvation, and cold will fall victim to the Wendigo and go mad while preying upon his fellow mankind. As Steve Pitt writes in Legion Magazine...
"A Windigo was a human whose selfishness has overpowered their self-control to the point that satisfaction is no longer possible. That is why Windigos are always hungry no matter how much they eat."
Popular culture has recently made the Wendigo into a monster of the north. (I'm guessing he hangs out with Sasquatch, plays poker, and has a French-Canadian accent, eh.) The common image is a creature with a man's body, a deer head (with antlers) and cloven feet. The creature moves like the wind and is tremendously strong -- a top carnivore.
Our fascination with the Wendigo began with this gloriously cheesy movie. It's not as cheesy as say, "Snakes on a Plane", but certainly is firmly seated in the "B" rate indie genre. Mostly because of the wonderfully goofy monster. (Watch the video at the bottom to see for yourself.)
The antlered, twitchy, forearm in kangaroo stance, speed-walking Wendigo is the most hilarious movie monster since the Space Herpe. The best part is the DVD extra where director Larry Fessenden explains the multi-year process of the creature development. Mostly devoted to a gangly walking apparatus with rearward facing knees worn by an actor trying not to fall on his antlered helmet. The best is the "super-speed" that the Wendigo is supposed to possess done in the movie with a simple fast forward of the camera. It makes the beastie look as if it's being pulled on a string while vibrating up and down. (Again, I refer you to the video below...)
So now -- everything with antlers has become a sort of Wendigo. The Great Forest Spirit in "Princess Mononoke" is clearly a Wendigo. And while drinking at an Uptown watering hole and staring at the wall of bottles, I made the connection to Jagermeister. Obviously -- enough Jag shots and you'll see the Wendigo too. Just look at the label. And if that weren't enough, here's a Wendigo crumpet just for fun.